The holidays aren't always happy days. "Often expectations just aren't realistic," says Cotton Fite, director of pastoral counseling at Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Ill. Families are supposed to be all together, wrapped in warmth. "But many more are fractured," he says, "by distance or divorce."
Even the joy of extra days off can turn to discomfort. "We know how to cope when we've got an agenda," Fite says. "Time away lets us get more in touch with our wishes and fears. That can be hard."
These blues can affect everybody, but Fite says Christians have certain strengths from their faith to draw on that can serve as a self-corrective. "We can refocus on God's love and our response to that love," he says. "So it's not about having enough but about being able to give enough." There are many opportunities in the congregation and in the community to connect and to serve others, he reminds.
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